Comparison of Extramedullary and Intramedullary Implants for Stable Intertrochanteric Fractures: Have We Swung the Pendulum Too Far the Other Way?

Aria Darius Darbandi, Ghulam H. Saadat*, Ahmed Siddiqi, Bennet A. Butler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction:Although intramedullary implants are commonly used to treat stable intertrochanteric (IT) fractures, there is a lack of evidence to demonstrate their superiority over extramedullary implants in treating these fractures. The purpose of this study was to compare short-term outcomes (<30 days) between intramedullary and extramedullary implants in patients with closed nondisplaced stable IT fractures.Methods:Patients with closed nondisplaced stable IT fractures were identified from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database between 2016 and 2019. Patients who either underwent extramedullary implant or intramedullary implant fixation were selected for this analysis. Postoperative outcomes included transfusion, surgical complications (stroke, myocardial infarction, venous thromboembolism, pneumonia, renal failure/insufficiency, surgical site infection, urinary tract infections, and sepsis), weight-bearing on postoperative day 1, discharge destination, place of residence at 30 days after the operation, days from operation to discharge, readmission related to the index procedure, any readmission, revision surgery, and mortality.Results:Of the 3,244 cases identified for the study, 2,521 (77.7%) underwent intramedullary nailing (IMN). Based on adjusted multivariable analysis, surgical complications between the two intervention groups were not statistically significantly (odds ratio [OR] 1.142; confidence interval [CI], 0.838 to 1.558; P = 0.4). However, patients who underwent IMN were associated with higher rates of blood transfusions (OR, 1.35, CI, 1.042 to 1.748, P = 0.023), more likely discharged to a place other than home (OR, 1.372, CI, 1.106 to 1.700, P = 0.004), and more likely to get readmitted (OR, 1.783, CI, 1.157 to 2.75, P = 0.009). Patients treated with IMN were associated with lower postoperative length of stay (OR 0.982, CI 0.967 to 0.998, P = 0.030).Discussion:Our study found that extramedullary implants were associated with lower transfusions rates, lower readmissions, and better patient disposition. We recommend surgeons to consider extramedullary implants when treating stable IT fractures, especially if the patient is anemic or at high risk for hospital readmission.Level of Evidence:Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E779-E788
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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